By Kimmie Collins
Feb 3, 2022
Whether it’s through physical fitness, education, or curating a culture of belonging, LaShatá Grayson thrives on helping people become the best version of themselves.
Grayson sees herself as a coach in all aspects of life. In her daytime role, she serves the Indiana State University community as the Associate Director of Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL). LaShatá believes that a core purpose in her life is to support women through a variety of life experiences and create outlets for better health, wellness, and personal growth.
This mission is embodied in her not-for-profit, “Carrying H.E.R. Weight,” an organization that focuses on “revealing, renewing, and restoring women through physical outlets.” In addition, she serves as the Executive Director of The Parallel Agency, a consulting firm that helps sorority students gain confidence in “learning to unlearn” antiquated tradition.
In each role, Grayson helps people realize their full potential, regardless of whether they see it in themselves.
Serving as the Associate Director of Fraternity & Sorority Life allows her to advise National Pan-Hellenic Council, comprised of six of the nine historically Black Fraternities and Sororities, and Panhellenic Association, in which women strive to create a positive, lasting impact both locally and nationally.
“To me, Fraternity and Sorority Life means there is a space to cultivate, educate, and develop a wide range of students,” said Grayson.
She describes her role as imprinting a set of change agents for students to “become their best selves and tie back to the institution.”
This past December, Grayson was presented the Association for Fraternity/Sorority Advisors’ Gayle Webb New Professional Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions of advisors to Greek organizations.
Grayson can see herself in some of the same lived experiences she shares with her students. She “gets it” and aims to challenge those students to “think of the spaces they’re creating and see past what others may see.”
“I truly believe I have an assignment to elevate and serve the students at Indiana State University. Throughout this assignment, I have also become a better version of myself.”
FSL helps students develop their leadership style and provides ways for students to come together and give to others. In 2021, Greek life affiliates completed more than 5,800 service hours, volunteering at organizations including the Council on Domestic Abuse, Special Olympics of Indiana, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation. They also collectively raised over $47,000 for their respective philanthropic organizations.
“Our students are doing impactful work,” Grayson said. “We’re trying to tell the story of who our students are and what they bring to campus and the Terre Haute community.”
Grayson’s passion comes from her own experiences as an undergraduate. Her university was two hours away from home and she struggled finding her own leadership style and philosophy until she joined her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
“Being a student from Gary, Indiana, being kicked out of middle school, then home-schooled for two years, college wasn’t an option for me, or at least that’s what I thought,” Grayson said. “I never saw myself being where I am.”
“I did not know what I needed until I had it. The Chi City Wide Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was the leveling up I needed,” she added.
After graduation, Grayson served as a K-4th special education teacher in the Indianapolis area. This is where she believes her passion for educating and helping students began. After teaching, Grayson pursued a master’s degree in College Student Personnel Administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Allured once again by the gravitational pull of Greek life, she held a graduate assistantship in their Fraternity & Sorority Life office. Through this experience, Grayson realized the organizations, so central to her undergraduate self, had set the stage for her next career journey.
She quickly learned how much the role encompassed that she hadn’t appreciated as a student.
“FSL is a jack of all trades,” said Grayson. “You hold people accountable. You help them with their academics. You advise them. You oversee housing components of the job. You become a true student affairs professional within this role.”
When she arrived at Indiana State, Grayson reunited with a familiar face: Dr. Tiffany Reed, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Inclusion. They met during Grayson’s junior year at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) when Grayson was elected president of Black Student Union. Dr. Reed was also a former president of IUPUI’s Black Student Union, and both women were members of the same sorority, from the same hometown, and experienced some of the same changes as first-generation college students.
“The world is made up by people who show up for people. Dr. Reed showed up for me,” Grayson said. “You know how good it feels to have a person consistently show up for you, even when you didn’t show up for yourself.”
“She was the coach I needed, and now I am the same coach for Sycamore students.”